6 Things with Unexpected Germ-Killing Power
As bacteria becomes more resistant to antibiotics, superbugs are becoming more of a threat to public health. Fortunately, scientists have been finding some unlikely sources of germ-killing power, discoveries that could lead to new drugs and more effective ways to deal with harmful bacteria.
Small fragments of a protein in the eyes, called keratin, effectively zap bacteria, protecting the eyes from infection, according to a recent study. Researchers produced a synthetic version of the protein and exposed it to different bacteria, such as those that cause strep throat, diarrhea, staph infections and cystic fibrosis. It was able to easily to kill the bacteria; that could lead to a new, inexpensive antimicrobial drug.
Researchers have long known that the skins of frog and toad contains hundreds of germ-fighting substances. A new study, however, found that toad brains may also harbor a number of antibacterial and antiviral substances. Scientists looked at the brains of Giant Fire-Bellied Toads and the Small-Webbed Bell Toad and they found 79 antimicrobial peptides - 59 of which were new to science.
Monolaurin, an extract from coconut oil, may be used as a new preservative for food due to its antimocrobial effect. Researchers tested monolaurin in foods in combination with other traditional antimicrobial agents and exposed it to bacterial strains, such as E.coli. They found that together with certain preservatives, the coconut extract yielded better results.
Anecdotes about people using the red soil from Jordan to treat skin infections has lead scientists to study its potential antimirobial effects. Researchers collected samples of red soil from various locations in Jordan, then exposed them to different types of bacteria, such as S.aureus and Micrococcus luteus. Results showed that the bacteria were rapidly killed, which could lead to a new line of treatment.
Scientists in South Dakota have developed a broad-spectrum antimicrobial paint that can kill bacteria, mold, fungi and viruses, according to their study. The paint, which is said to be particularly effective against antibiotic-resistant microbres, can be used in homes, businesses and healthcare settings and contains a new N-halamine polymer. Scientists say the paint, however, is only effective against a limited number of microbes.
A coating with magnetic-like features can attract and kill bacteria, eliminating the need for antibiotics, according to new research. The coating is a polymer that holds a negative charge, which draws in bacteria because they have a positive charge on their cell walls. When it comes in contact with the coating, the bacteria is sucked into the polymor, which ruptures and kills the cell.